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Description

By the Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature John Steinbeck, born in Salinas, California, in

1902, grew up in a fertile agricultural valley, about twenty-five miles from the Pacific Coast. Both

the valley and the coast would serve as settings for some of his best fiction. In 1919 he went to

Stanford University, where he intermittently enrolled in literature and writing courses until he left in

1925 without taking a degree. During the next five years he supported himself as a laborer and

journalist in New York City, all the time working on his first novel, Cup of Gold (1929). After

marriage and a move to Pacific Grove, he published two California books, The Pastures of

Heaven (1932) and To a God Unknown (1933), and worked on short stories later collected inÂ

The Long Valley (1938). Popular success and financial security came only with Tortilla FlatÂ

(1935), stories about Montereyâ€s paisanos. A ceaseless experimenter throughout his career,

Steinbeck changed courses regularly. Three powerful novels of the late 1930s focused on the

California laboring class: In Dubious Battle (1936), Of Mice and Men (1937), and the book

considered by many his finest, The Grapes of Wrath (1939). The Grapes of Wrath won both

the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize in 1939. Early in the 1940s, Steinbeck became a

filmmaker with The Forgotten Village (1941) and a serious student of marine biology with Sea

of Cortez (1941). He devoted his services to the war, writing Bombs Away (1942) and the

controversial play-novelette The Moon is Down (1942).Cannery Row (1945), The Wayward

Bus (1948), another experimental drama, Burning Bright(1950), and The Log from the Sea of

Cortez (1951) preceded publication of the monumental East of Eden (1952), an ambitious

saga of the Salinas Valley and his own familyâ€s history. The last decades of his life were spent

in New York City and Sag Harbor with his third wife, with whom he traveled widely. Later books

include Sweet Thursday (1954), The Short Reign of Pippin IV: A Fabrication (1957), Once

There Was a War (1958), The Winter of Our Discontent (1961),Travels with Charley in Search

of America (1962), America and Americans (1966), and the posthumously published Journal

of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters (1969), Viva Zapata!(1975), The Acts of King Arthur and

His Noble Knights (1976), and Working Days: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath (1989).

Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962, and, in 1964, he was presented with the

United States Medal of Freedom by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Steinbeck died in New York in

1968. Today, more than thirty years after his death, he remains one of America's greatest writers

and cultural figures.Â

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